Story by: Kim Huston on December 30, 2020
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), perinatal depression, or depression that happens during and after pregnancy, is one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period. ACOG estimates it affects 1 in 7 women — left untreated, it can affect the health of the mother, baby and entire family. Here are some things to know about perinatal depression, including how to ask for help.
Depression and anxiety are complications of pregnancy and childbirth –– just like any other complications a woman can experience
“Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth,” said Crista L. Hays, M.D., OB/GYN with Norton Women’s Care.
Make an appointment.
(502) 629-4GYN (4496)
Women who have a history of depression and anxiety can be at greater risk for developing perinatal depression and anxiety. There are other factors that can contribute, including birth trauma, strife within relationships, poverty and history of abuse. Big life transitions, such as losing a loved one, getting a new job, pregnancy and childbirth can trigger depression and anxiety symptoms due to the stress involved within the transitions.
Perinatal depression and anxiety are different from the “baby blues,” a natural phenomenon that happens in the postpartum period where women may feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster. Perinatal depression symptoms can include:
ACOG recommends that physicians screen pregnant women and new mothers for depression and help them get treatment if they’re at risk. Norton Healthcare OB/GYN practices screen for perinatal depression during and after pregnancy to help direct women to the care they need.
If you’re feeling symptoms of perinatal depression, Dr. Hays suggests being direct with your health care provider.
“It’s OK to tell your doctor: ‘I’m really struggling, I can’t get out of bed, I can’t sleep.’ Be direct about your exact symptoms,” Dr. Hays said. “Admitting your struggles doesn’t mean you’re weak or a bad mom. It means you are owning your health and getting the care you need.”
Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.